ULVER – 1993-2003: 1st Decade in the Machines

To celebrate ULVER’s 10 years of metamorphosis, mainman, Trickster G has assembled a line-up of some well-known IDM artists to remix ULVER songs. This release is certainly in line with the eclectic and intriguing nature of “an ULVER record.” However, this collection travels even further into realms of the abstract than any previous release. This is, undoubtedly, the most challenging and difficult album for ULVER’s metal listening fans to get into. The remixes all dwell within the electronic/programming galaxy of music ranging from ambient to noise to break beats to trip hop. To consider 1st Decade in the Machines as simply “a remix album” would be to shortchange it. Each artist constructed entirely new songs out of pieces of ULVER songs. Thus, each track is a new entity. The album traverses a wide range of sounds and emotions from the laid back to the solemn to the upbeat to the abstract. ULVER appropriately start off the album with “Crack Bug,” a remix of “Nattens Madrigal” from their Vargnatt demo. The eerie track carries a sinister vibe with its pounding percussive beats. BOGDAN RACZYNSKI’s “Bog’s Basil & Curry Powder Potatos Recipe” is an uptempo break beat track with synthesizers that are reminiscent of a mid 80’s video game. The song starts off sounding like something from Super Mario Bros. but it quickly builds up to a crescendo of rapid-fire beats and strong melodies. MARTIN HORNTVETH’s “Der Alte” is a beautiful, solemn track based around a dialogue between two men reflecting upon their lives and the inevitability of death as old age becomes more apparent. The combination of strings and slow electronic beats works well in relaying the profound and deeply emotional story. A. WILTZIE VS. STARS OF THE LID’s “I Love You, But I Prefer Trondheim (parts1-4)” is a peaceful, sobering piece. Its soothing strings and piano bring to mind the unique feeling of coming down from a night’s worth of hard drugs. The last three songs are a barrage of white noise and atypical frequencies from such artists as the renown, MERZBOW. 1st Decade in the Machines is a good headphone album for listeners to drift off with. This record only feeds the fires of curiosity about ULVER’s next (brilliant) move. (Jester Records/The End Records)

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